Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Battle of Algiers

The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, Algeria/Italy, 1966), which is currently playing theatrically in the UK, was chosen by Guardian readers as their fifth favourite foreign film of all time. Here's the Guardian's comment on the choice:

You could argue that no modern movie has had more political influence. For the tension in this dramatised documentary has been employed in the training and the inspiration of real-life terrorists opposed to occupying forces. Pontecorvo used people who had known the real war in Algeria - from all sides - and you can tell yourself you are seeing the "true" face of outrage. But, in fact, the picture is artfully made in a black-and-white that apparently appeals to Guardian readers a lot. Above all, this reminds us that "real" coverage of terrible events is itself a political weapon. (DT)

The film has been re-released to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the events depicted in it. The winner of numerous awards, including a BAFTAUN Award and both the Golden Lion and the FIPRESCI Award at the 1966 Venice Film Festival, director Gillo Pontecorvo’s highly acclaimed masterpiece is regarded as one of modern cinema's finest achievements.

Set during the 1954 to 1962 Franco-Algerian conflict, The Battle of Algiers authentically recreates the pivotal political events that took place in the city of Algiers between 1954 and 1957. In an attempt to end French colonialism, which had been in place since 1830, in 1954 the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) began a war of liberation, using terrorism to highlight the plight of the Algerian people to the rest of the world. In response to the escalating terrorist violence in the city of Algiers, the French government sent in an armed force of paratroopers to crush the uprising. Authorised to use whatever force and methods were believed to be necessary in bringing an end to the revolution, the actions of the French military led to a regrettable catalogue of atrocities being committed by those on both sides of the conflict.

Watch trailer of The Battle of Algiers +

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